Links ‘n Things Monday (11/19/12)

Thanksgiving week is finally here – there always seems to be two times of year when you have long stretches between days off – between Christmas and Easter and between Labor Day and Thanksgiving (unless you work in a school, bank or other govt’ institution). I digress. Not a lot going on in the chemical news world. Headlines about Isreal, Petraeus and the “fiscal cliff” seem to be dominating these days. At any rate – I did find a few interesting things around the interwebs and those are below. To each and every one of you who regularly read this blog (if you do exist) – thank you and Happy Thanksgiving!

1) This first link has nothing to do with chemical engineering or the chemicals industry, but I really enjoyed it so I thought I would pass it along. It’s an ebook written by someone at Wired.com about the unfolding story surrounding John McAfee, the founder of McAfee computer security. Turns out he’s a bit of a coot and he’s been holed up in Belize for the past several years. Now he’s at the center of a murder investigation – this story details he life up to this point and paints the picture of a man who has lost touch with reality. This is a link to an excerpt from the ebook, the entirety of which you can purchase for $0.99: http://www.wired.com/threatlevel/2012/11/john-mcafee-last-stand-ebook/

2) I know there must be some coffee-lovers out there; this article is about the most recent winner of the U.S. Barista Championships and her very scientific approach to making the “perfect” cup of coffee. I’m not too picky myself, but I guess there’s a passion for every kind of personality. http://www.slate.com/articles/life/doers/2012/11/the_secret_to_making_great_coffee_revealed.html

3) As my own personal homage to the ‘Twinkie’ – here’s an article about what all goes into a Twinkie, including an attempt to answer whether a Twinkie could indeed last for 30 years on the shelf. As an aside, you couldn’t pay me to actually eat a Twinkie, I have no desire — a Hostess Cherry Pie though, now that’s a different story: http://science.howstuffworks.com/innovation/edible-innovations/twinkie.htm

4) If you’re a chemical engineer you’re probably already a regular reader of Chemical Processing magazine, but in case you’re not – here’s an interesting “Letter from the Editor” about a recently announced program addition at Cornell University. They are going to be having someone from the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office join them on-campus in a permanent role that will facilitate innovation and research at the University. The role of this person hasn’t been officially marked out, but the idea is to educate graduate students on how best to go about acquiring grants and filing for intellectual property rights, etc. It’s certainly an experiment worth monitoring: http://www.chemicalprocessing.com/voices/from-the-editor/

5) For those of you who are space-junkies, you have no-doubt heard about Nasa’s ‘Project Orion’; now NASA is looking to team up with the European Space Agency (ESA) to help build the thing. It is thought that the ESA would build the service module and that the U.S. would build the actual astronaut capsule. This machine would be expressly built for deep-space exploration, either to the moon, an asteroid or perhaps even to Mars at some point in the future. This project gives Britain it’s best hope of putting a Brit on the moon for the first time. It’s an interesting update, it’s possible this machine could undertake it’s first test-flight as soon as 2017: http://www.guardian.co.uk/science/2012/nov/17/britons-could-explore-deep-space

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